There is a place at Raleigh Court that is very quiet, very serene, and very special.
This place is our Columbarium. It is nestled outside and can be a final resting place for members of our Congregation. One can enter through either the double glass doors in the gathering area or the specially designed Columbarium metal gates. The size of the rectangular, garden area, is approximately 3000/3200 square feet.
The vision for the Columbarium came from our then Pastor, The Reverend F. Tupper Garden, during the Capital Expansion program in early 2003, and was dedicated on September 19, 2004 in his honor.
Phase I planning began with the formation of the following committee: Al Thomason, (Chairman), Steve Nash, Bobby Cooper, Martha Edmunds and Barry Marsh and focused on the initial design and construction, financing, and congregational relations/policy.
The committee first visited Blacksburg Presbyterian Church and Galilee Episcopal Church of Virginia Beach, VA, both having gone through the design and development process for their Columbariums. In the fall of 2003, the committee had developed their plan, the Session approved the concept and the Endowment Fund approved the financing. (Any revenue resulting from the sale of Niches would be returned to the Endowment Fund). The Architectural Firm of Marsh, Witt Associates, PC was selected for the design work, Everest Columbariums of Lewisville, NC, provided the niches and framing hardware, and Lionberger Construction was awarded the construction bid (Feb. 2004). Brad Kennedy of the Property and Maintenance Committee and Drew Kepley oversaw the project.
The first phase of the project consisted of the initial structural construction cost for four panels ($121,000), enough for 56 niches in each panel – originally populated with 112 niches and framing ($31,100) filling two of the four panels, Columbarium metal gates ($7500), wooden 5’ wide teak benches on a concrete pad ($2500 each), an engraved dedication stone (below entrance gates - $1750), quarter round planting beds –six total- included the selection and planting of flowering plants ($1200), two Japanese Maple trees $500), and a dividing wall and steps separating the upper and lower levels.
For twelve years, the columbarium had been the center of loving, worshipful, celebrative and memorable services. Its grounds had shown the respectful, appreciative, and tender care of an RCPC group of gardeners who maintained them. Some but not all of these “care givers” were Martha Edmonds, Sandy Carson and Marsha Ellison.
Since the Columbarium had originally been only populated with half of the niches and with two of the four panels still in need of niches, phase II of the original plan was implemented. It called for an additional 112 niches (56 in each remaining panel).
The planning of phase II began in early 2016. Steve Nash and Dale Hanslik approached the Endowment Board in June of 2016 with a proposal for the additional 112 niches and framing ($40,966) from the original supplier, Everest Columbariums, so as to maintain continuity with the first purchase 12 years earlier. Once approved, an order was placed and the final phase of Raleigh Court’s Columbarium was complete.
To date, 65 niches have been sold. The current price of a double niche is $1,800 and $1,200 for a single